The MacRobertson Legacy
While MacRobertson is no longer a household name, there are many places in Melbourne that preserve his legacy due to his generous and wide-ranging contributions to organisations, events and public buildings.
In 1934 he was described by the Courier Mail newspaper as ‘An Australian Carnegie’ through a comparison to the famous American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who commissioned Carnegie Hall.
Although MacRobertson was generous in his bequests, most came with the condition that his name be attached to any events or building created as a result of his donation, thus ensuring his own place in Melbourne’s social and economic history.
In 1934, at a time where investment in women’s education was neither fashionable, nor promised good financial return, MacRobertson donated the sum of 40,000 pounds to the school then known as Melbourne Girls’ High. The money was spend on erecting a series of art deco style buildings at 350-370 King’s Way, Albert Park and on 7th November 1934, the school reopened as Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School. This money was part of 100,000 pounds donated to the Government in 1933 to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of Victoria. The remaining funds went towards public works such as erecting a fountain in the gardens near the Shrine of Remembrance, building the MacRobertson Bridge over the Yarra River and the construction of a new building for the National Herbarium.
One of MacRobertson’s most unusual bequests was of 10,000 pounds to Mawson’s 1929 Antarctica Expedition. His interests were not just in exploration, but also in the potential opportunities for Australian industry as Antarctica was rich in mineral deposits and also products derived from the whaling industry. In recognition of the donation, Mawson named a small area in the Australian territory of Antarctica ‘Mac.Robertson Land’. MacRobertson’s philanthropy was widely recognised in Australia in 1932 when he received a knighthood for his contribution to the Antarctica expedition. Then in 1935 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Confectionery: Past and Present
The White City
Walking the White City video
The Marketing Man
The Marketing Man Video
MacRobertson's Horses Video
The Cycling Craze
The Cycling Craze Video
MacRobertson and the Motor Car
The MacRobertson Legacy
Mac.Robertson Girls' High School video
MacRobertson Land, Antarctica
Old Gold Airplane
Story education resources
Education MacRobertson's Confectionery Factory - Education Kit
The MacRobertson's Confectionery Factory education kit has been designed for grades 2 and 3 and looks at themes such as 'the past in the present' and 'community history'.
Key themes include:
1. Historical buildings and monuments
2. Victorian industry and the workforce
3. Technology and transport
4. Advertising and design
5. Local history
Teachers and students use the kit in conjunction with the MacRobertson videos, images and stories available on Culture Victoria to complete a range of activities aligning with key historical skills such as:
1. Distinguishing between the past, present and future
2. Posing questions about the past using sources provided
3. Exploring a range of sources about the past
4. Identifying and comparing features of objects from the past and present
5. Exploring a point of view
6. Developing a narrative about the past
7. Using a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written, role play) and digital technologies